Workers’ Compensation: When to Lawyer Up in Columbus, Ohio
Unfortunately, accidents happen all the time, even in the workplace. While many employees who suffer injuries on the job can easily file a claim for workers’ compensation and receive benefits without issue, others may have to hire an attorney. It’s important to know when you need to lawyer up. Generally, if your claim is disputed by your employer or the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, you should retain a workers’ compensation lawyer to get the benefits you deserve. If your injury was significant, you should consult with a lawyer. And there are several benefits which injured workers might be entitled to receive. Your employer and the OBWC are not going to inform you of those benefits; you should consult with a lawyer to see exactly what benefits should be provided to you.
When is a Lawyer Unnecessary?
A minor injury sustained at work that can easily heal on its own with treatment does not require the assistance of an attorney. An example is if a person cuts their hand while at work. They have a small wound that is bleeding, but the bleeding stops after a few short minutes and the individual does not require medical assistance or stitches to heal the cut. Simply washing the cut, applying pressure to it and putting on a bandage for a few days helps it to scab over quickly and the cut heals well. The individual does not miss any time from work and doesn’t need to see a doctor. This wouldn’t require a workers’ compensation claim and the person wouldn’t lose any pay. However, even in a case such as this, the injured worker should always report the injury to the employer. That way, if something else develops (e.g., an infection), a workers compensation claim can be filed, the medical bills can be paid through workers compensation and, if time from work is missed, the appropriate compensation can be paid.
When is a Lawyer Necessary?
If you have a dispute with your employer or OBWC, you will want to have an attorney on your side. It only benefits you to have enough evidence gathered to support your workers’ compensation claim. You may also be required to have a medical examination performed by a doctor chosen by the employer or OBWC, go through deposition and have expert witnesses to testify or provide medical reports on your behalf. All of this requires extensive legal expertise, which an attorney can offer.
If your claim is denied or your employer disputes that you suffered your injury at work, you need a lawyer. Likewise, if you are told you filed too late, a lawyer can help you to appeal the decision. If OBWC or your employer denies medical treatment, you need a lawyer. These things always require filing formal paperwork and evidence to be presented at a hearing, which makes having an attorney vital.
Other situations that require a workers’ compensation lawyer include a dispute over your permanent disability rating, having a preexisting condition that is disputed, difficulty getting the treatment you need and receiving other government benefits.
Is a Lawyer Worth It?
Workers’ compensation attorneys charge on a contingency fee, meaning that you only pay them a percentage of what you recover in your benefits. Generally, in Ohio, the fee is 33 1/3 percent of the compensation received as a result of the attorney’s efforts. Taking this small fee into consideration as well as what an attorney can do for you, it’s well worth hiring a lawyer.